What makes an event team different from other teams? Is it the high work pressure? The amount of tasks? The constant need for creative thinking and a problem-solving mindset?
In most cases, the thing that distinguishes an event team from others is the need to operate quickly while juggling numerous tasks. Just think about it: from emailing campaigns to catering-related decisions, your team must know and do almost everything. That"s why, as an event coordinator, one of your responsibilities is to be always aware of your team members' well-being, and make sure that they stay motivated to give their best. How can you do it? These tips will definitely help you:
Tip 1. Promote an authentic emotional culture
In 2015, the husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg unexpectedly passed away. Experiencing often near-breakdowns during meetings, as TIME magazine reported, Sandberg struggled in returning to work. However, her experience changed the way Facebook treated its employees.
As an INC article explains, Sandberg introduced policies such as "up to 20 days paid leave to grieve an immediate family member", "up to six weeks of paid leave to care of a sick relative", or "three days to take care of a family member with a short-term illness". In other words, Sandberg introduced notions such as empathy, emotional culture, and compassion in the workplace.
Considering this, create a safe environment for your event team. Work on building a powerful emotional culture and manifest compassion when it is needed. Let your team members know that if something unexpected happens, they can take care of it without the fear of losing their job. This will make them feel secure, and also grateful to be part of a compassionate and understanding team.
Tip 2. Engage your event team in knowledge transfer sessions
You may not find it necessary (especially if you're working with top professionals), yet apart from operational meetings, you have to assure a good knowledge transfer mechanism. Imagine there's just one person on your team who knows how to send multiple invitation emails. What if that person misses a few weeks of work for an illness, vacation, or business trip? What you do then? You need to make sure that at least two people on your team know how to execute the same task. Thus, these knowledge transfer sessions will help everyone not only to understand each other's work, but also to learn how to do those tasks if necessary.
Tip 3. Make sure your team has enough time for rest and recovery
If you want a truly efficient team, establish a work-life balance. Don't make your team work on weekends, for example (except when there's a weekend event). Avoid sending emails or new assignments over the weekend, too. Let everybody know that there is time for work, but also for recovery.
Tip 4. Be mindful of your team's well-being
You may be tempted to put your clients first, yet this may not always be a wise decision. Let's say your client decided that she or he wants to make a major change in the event program that you've already sent to printing (with the client's initial consent). Making this change will require halting the printing process, making the requested last-minute changes, waiting for the client’s feedback and confirmation, negotiating with the print service, etc.
This means a new set of tasks that will unexpectedly fall on the head of your team member who's in charge of the design. What you do, then? Instead of rushing into that team member's cubicle frantically and delegating the new assignment, ask yourself what other important tasks this person is doing. Will he or she manage to deal with the time pressure? Will this put more stress on his or her work? After all, your client is the one who did not ask for the change earlier, during the design phase.
So when you talk with the person responsible for the design, instead of demanding something, ask if there's time to do it and if it's possible to accomplish. Let that team member evaluate the amount of queued work and decide what’s best. Of course, it might be an extreme situation where it's non-negotiable (such as a last-minute change in speakers), but still always take your team’s well-being into consideration and let them decide if they can handle it or not.
Tip 5. Delegate tasks wisely
Assign tasks evenly. Don't bombard someone with lots of assignments only because he or she can deal with it. Also, don't leave other team members without any work to do. There's nothing worse than staring at your computer screen bored out of your mind. Plus, it might also inadvertently give that team member the impression that you don’t trust him or her to do the work or think he or she isn't competent. Help your team members to manifest their real potential while having an equal work distribution.
Maintaining a healthy emotional balance at the office will help your event team focus and perform better. A safe work environment will always be the reason why your team members will try to do their best in accomplishing different assignments. Make sure there’s room for compassion, empathy, well-being, knowledge transfer, and rest. Be a true leader and keep your team happy.